Washington Dreams of the Hippopotamus

At long last I’ve been able to link Erik Werner’s brilliant video for “Washington Dreams of the Hippopotamus.”  Enjoy.  More on Erik and the process of making this film can be found at www.dreamofthehippo.com.

Published in: on January 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Band As Cardboard

As readers of this blog will already know, Erik Werner and Co. have been filming a music video for “Washington Dreams of the Hippopotamus.”  Typical of Erik’s approach to art, this thing is comprised entirely of cardboard puppets.  WTF, you say?   Indeed.  Here’s a still of my band, done-up cardboard puppet-style.

Christian Kiefer Band, ala Erik Werner, cardboard genius

Christian Kiefer Band, ala Erik Werner, cardboard genius

That’s Jason Roberts on the left, Chip at the drums, me up front, and J. Matthew Gerken rockin’ the bass on the far right.  Hell yes!

This thing will likely be done some time next week so keep watching this space for more.  You can also jump over to www.dreamofthehippo.com to watch Erik and Jon’s video blog about the making of the video.

Published in: on November 30, 2008 at 12:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Tyler Curriculum

Hey all. Christian Kiefer here.  I’ve just finished and uploaded study questions for John Tyler.  You can access those new questions here or can take a look at the “for teachers” page via the link to the right or by clicking here.

Remember, if you’re a teacher using Of Great and Mortal Men in the classroom we’d love to hear from you!

Published in: on November 1, 2008 at 8:40 pm  Comments (1)  

NPR’s All Things Considered

As you likely already know, my new album (with Jefferson Pitcher and J. Matthew Gerken) is out and about in the world.  You can order it from www.cdbaby.com (my webstore), www.standardrecording.com (the label), or iTunes (digital).  
But that’s not even the point of this e-mail.  The point of THIS e-mail is to tell you that you can hear us discuss the project TONIGHT (Wednesday, October 8th) on NPR’s All Things Considered.  That’s right TONIGHT on NPR’s All Things Considered.  It’s broadcast live at 7pm EST, but check your local listings to find out when it’s playing in your area or listen to it here: www.npr.org.
Just so you know, over 100 artists, musicians, printers, and do-gooders have been involved in this mad project and it shows.  Alan Sparhawk (Low), Califone, Rosie Thomas, Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu), Monahans, Stephen Yerkey, Bill Callahan (Smog), and many others have guested on this.  The 106+ page full color book is amazing with 43 individual portraits of the Presidents by artists who drew, painted, and assembled such portraits just for this project.
AND here’s the deal: 3 CDs, 106 page book for under $30.  I say it again: Oh!  Hell yes!
If you are press and/or radio and would like a copy of this project, please send your inquiry to mark@standardrecording.com.  He’ll set you up! 
Also: If you are an educator or school interested in potentially using this in a classroom, please e-mail mark@standardrecording.com for a special educator price.  Yes!
That’s all this time and it’s a lot.  Dig it.
Published in: on October 8, 2008 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why we love Venus

Because of, among other things, this 5 star review of Of Great and Mortal Men.  Thanks, VenusZine!  Tasty quotes from our songs about Van Buren, Jackson, Washington, GHW Bush, and GW Bush too.

Release Day!

Of Great and Mortal Men: 43 Songs for 43 U.S. Presidencies, the new album by J. Matthew Gerken, Christian Kiefer, and Jefferson Pitcher, celebrates its official release today. 

As this project has been filled to the brim with the rich taste of production problems, the official roll out today has been no different as it’s not yet on iTunes or eMusic and is showing up as “backordered” on Amazon.  Not to mention that it’s listed not under Gerken, Kiefer, and Pitcher but rather under the band name (what?) Of Great and Mortal Men.  It’s all very confusing.

Best bet: Order it directly from the label by clicking here!

Meanwhile, here are a couple of new nuggets ‘o press to whet the appetite:

Dig it!  Oh and the Bee has a stream of George Washington, featuring a cast o’ thousands of musicians including Damian Sol (violin), Fran Mironchik (flute), Keenan Bird (rudimentary snare drum), Jason Roberts (guitar), Vince DiFiore (trumpet), Andrew Dost (flugelhorn), Mike Curry (drums), and John Gutenberger (bass) (see links for most all of those musicians under “links”).  & speaking of Washington, the Men’s Vogue/GQ piece uses C.W. Roelle’s Washington art as the header.  Oh hell yes.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 8:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sac News and Review Woo Hah!

Three sexy men in colonial formal wear

Three sexy men in colonial formal wear

The Sacramento News & Review was kind enough to interview us three.  It was to be a Music Feature.  Then it was to be an Arts Feature.  Then it became a cover story.  To which we all say: Oh!  Hell Yes!

By the time the author interviewed Jefferson Pitcher the piece was nearly done and so he even ran Jeff’s interview separately in the paper. 

Good times for all.  We’re planning a single show for local (to Sacramento) folks on Sept. 13 at our regular stomping ground the Fox & Goose Pub.  If you’re around (and are 21+, sorry) please come by.  The label promises we’ll have copies to sell at the show by then.  If I get my biz together I’ll have 3″ mini CDs of some of the demos as a bonus for those who buy it.  I really wanted to be able to give everyone a copy of the Constitution but I just couldn’t work out the $.  Damn you $$.  Damn you to helll$$!!

In any case, you can read the cover story here and the Jeff PItcher interview here.  Go now!

Meanwhile, we did a rather lengthy series of interviews–both by e-mail and phone–with Matt Erler at NUVO and he did us up a really great essay/review/overview, which is quite good and worth the read.  Check it!

AND Matt also kindly enough published the original complete interviews too so you can read those as well if you’ve got an inkling for the digital ink.  We didn’t know Matt before this, but like Nick Miller (who wrote the SN&R piece above) he really took the time and effort to understand what it was we were trying to do.  Thanks, gents.

Meanwhile, our friend Sandy did a post with some of the original fawm.org demos (with our permission, of course).  Original demos of Washington, Coolidge, and Adams.  Check those out on Sandy’s site here.

Published in: on September 5, 2008 at 12:03 am  Leave a Comment  

New curricula

One of the aspects of this project that we continue to be very excited about is the possibilities that it can be used in education.  To that end, we’ve been writing curriculum (in between teaching classes and doing our other non-education day jobs).  Here are some new “reading questions” for James Madison and Andrew Jackson:

I’ve also done a few edits to George Washington’s reading questions as well.  More to come!  If any teachers want to get involved in the curriculum-writing process, please don’t hesitate to contact Christian Kiefer at xian@christiankiefer.com or Mark Latta at mark@standardrecording.com.  We could sure use your help!

Meanwhile, click over to the “for teachers” link on the right for more curricula as it is developed.

Published in: on August 15, 2008 at 6:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

New Curricula

J. Matthew Gerken has developed a couple of new additions to the teaching curricula.  Find them below and, of course, via the “for teachers” link on the right.

Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 9:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Interviews of Note

Interviews this week of us three songwriterly types:

The Saint Louis Riverfront Times also ran a great short interview with my pal and Magnolia Summer dudeman Chris Grabau about his work on the McKinley track.  It’s a good view into what it was like for the guest contributors.  And you can read that one here.

Speaking of McKinley, Grabau sent me a link to this film of the execution of McKinley’s assassin, Leon Czolgosz.  It’s real footage and hence disturbing, but the jitter of the ancient film also gives everything a somewhat more disturbing keystone cops flavor.  Eek.

Published in: on July 14, 2008 at 9:53 pm  Comments (1)